Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman urged the central bank to cut key interest rates by at least a quarter point and halt attempts to sell the Czech koruna on the market to weaken it. If the central bank cuts rates, the government will help curb the currency's appreciation by freezing part of the proceeds from state asset sales on a special account, said Zeman. The FX market did not reflect his statement and the koruna strengthened further to a new record at 32.58 CZK/EUR.
Prime Minister Milos Zeman also said that the sale of the government's majority stake to an industry investor should be delayed until next year. Zeman said the sale of the company, currently slated for March 2002, should wait until a new government takes office after elections in the middle of next year.
The Czech Republic closed the energy chapter in its EU accession talks yesterday, The negotiation had been blocked by Austria for many months due to the Czech nuclear power plant Temelin.
Russian concern Gazprom will join an international consortium of Ruhrgas, Gaz de France and SNAM if the consortium wins a tender for the privatization of Transgas and eight regional gas distributors, said Ruhrgas CEO Buckhard Bergmann.
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